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  #41  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 12:17 AM
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While a pipe dream, I still love the ambition. I could care less about the design at this point because its merely conceptual and won't get built as shown, if at all. At the very least it gets the site on the development radar, gets people talking and with the drive for that much space (way beyond the demands of the market, but whatever, its not my money being wasted), it at least ensures the Post Office will be preserved in its entirety for the next couple of years, regardless of what happens. Preserving the old Post Office as is, is what I care about most. I hated the previous concept of ripping down 1/3 of the structure, so any plan that keeps the building gets my support.

Davies apparently has financing for phase 1, whether or not that comes to fruition, we shall see; but nonetheless it still preserves the old building for something else to come along. Lets just hope he's not a slum lord and lets it fall apart if nothing happens.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
I'm hoping that the render was simply a generic plotting diagram, and not an actual representation of how they envision the individual buildings to look.

That said, if you get rid of some of the more fanciful things, such as the retail "bridge" over the river, you actually have the potential for some interesting results. For example, the positioning of the tall tower seems to have been selected to form a capstone to the view down the south branch of the river from the Apparel Mart and from the Riverside Plaza areas.
If you removed the retail between the shorter tower on the NE corner of the Post Office plot and the largest tower, you'd end up with an arrangement that would still show off the art deco Post Office, but enhance the sensation of driving through something. And we don't really know if they've ignored the river or not because they don't show any details about how the buildings would meet it. It's not as though the city and river there are already beautifully matched there - it would be very difficult to make any sort of ideal river/city meld in that area that didn't end up feeling forced and out of place. After all, Congress is essentially a highway there, and it kind of divides off that part of the river from any hope of being an extension of Riverside Plaza and across the river, the Wacker extension and interface with Congress destroys the usability on that side, too. And I think you're not really facing reality if you think that a park surrounded by a highway, a train yard and across the river from a boring, pretty ugly new post office processing facility would be popular or beautiful or usable or in any way add to Chicago. The big parcel south of Roosevelt Rd is really the best bet for creating an interface between the City and the River. That's across from a railyard, but it's a much bigger drawing board and thus has more flexible possibilities.
My interest isn't in the individual design of the buildings. This is a massing model, yes, but it's based on a concept, and that concept is to create a new shopping district within a single structure where you circulate solely from within-- in other words, a typical mall. There's simply no other way to interpret it. And because the residential and office components are housed in the towers, that hulking base will form a sheer ten story wall of parking and inwardly focused retail-- Water Tower Place writ large with an overall effect of Presidential Towers on steroids.

This comment especially irks me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by emathias View Post
And I think you're not really facing reality if you think that a park surrounded by a highway, a train yard and across the river from a boring, pretty ugly new post office processing facility would be popular or beautiful or usable or in any way add to Chicago.
Where's the bold and visionary thinking? Why focus on the negative aspects of these features? And who said anything about a park? The site is a nexus: the CTA, Metra, Congress AND the river-- vital components of Chicago's transportation infrastructure-- all pass through it. I mean, it's like a small-scaled symbolic version of the city itself, which owes much of its existence and livelihood to the networks of rail, water, air and, recently, digital/fiber optics that intersect there. This should inform the concept, but it doesn't: Congress, for example, is 'brushed under the rug' and plans for the river (in the link bnk provided) include a line of restaurants connected to (and seemingly only accessed through) the mall.

Yes, some of these features provide certain challenges, but good design is measured by how well the architect responds to those challenges. That's where the bold and visionary thinking comes into play. But none of that is on display here. Instead, the strategy is to ignore, cover up, isolate and obstruct.

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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
As for your counter-examples, they're all too small. Roosevelt Collection is hard to get to for neighborhood residents on foot, and just isn't big enough to draw people from anywhere else. Even Block 37 should either have gone bigger or simply not been a mall. If it wasn't on State Street, it would have no hope at that size and even being on State Street, it barely even holds its own as far as generating critical mass. I think the Trump thing will work, eventually, they just have to figure out how it's supposed to work during the winter when nobody in their right mind would walk along that section of the river.
This misses two of the points I was trying to make: First, that there is no demand for this much retail space downtown; and, second, the downtown area already has three established shopping districts catering to different demographics: a high end boutique will open along Oak Street, not on the former site of the Old Post Office; a flagship will open along Michigan Avenue and the more everyday along State. In order for this development to be successful, either those districts would have to be entirely built out (unlikely) or the developer would have to identify a demographic whose shopping needs aren't currently met by any of the three.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by StatenIslander237 View Post
See my reaction is actually completely the opposite (no disrespect of course). I was never too fond of Chicago Spire because I felt like it was ridiculously showy and belonged in a place like Las Vegas or Dubai. It didn't feel like industrial, structual, matter-of-fact Chicago. This tower on the other hand (I understand that the rendering is conceptual), if it's executed correctly, could be completely fantastic for this city and really fit the Chicago skyline.

Everyone from New York who denounced the Chicago Spire got thoroughly chastised and the NY vs. CHI debate was incited once again, but personally, and I love my city equally to Chicago, but I would not complain about ceding the nations-tallest title to Chicago for this building. Let's get it BUILT.
With you 100%. I hope the final design for this building, if it ever happens, is one that everyone can rally behind as it claims America's tallest title. My suggestion for the design is a revamp of the Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 12:53 AM
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Why not at the Chicago Spire site?
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  #45  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 12:58 AM
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never. gonna. happen.
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  #46  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 1:06 AM
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I'd much rather they build the 2000' building using the Post Office as a base. None of the rest of that crap. They could spend that extra money cleaning the post office up.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 1:12 AM
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This is something really cool I found online... wanted to share.



From:
http://robfunderburk.blogspot.com/20...-for-time.html
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  #48  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 1:13 AM
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I say boot the retail.

Simply have hotels, residential, and office.

Perhaps a small amount of service retail space is adequate (dry cleaner, coffee shop, bank)
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  #49  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 1:48 AM
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Well, we have to keep at least one 2,000 ft proposal current. It's the law...

I don't have a lot of faith in that tower getting built, but I don't think it's the best place on the skyline for the city's tallest anyway. The other towers meanwhile are getting lost in the proposal. The whole thing looks anti-urban. I don't like the multi-level parking scenario.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:15 AM
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Its placement on the skyline would throw off the aesthetics of Chicago's present urban geography. I'd much rather see the spire get built....
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  #51  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:21 AM
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Well if this gets built and completed the people that want 2,000 foot tall buildings will finally shut the f**k up. No really those people that I am talking about are really becoming pain in the a**es.
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  #52  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:24 AM
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Bill Davies is an absentee landlord who sat on several huge properties in Liverpool.

He is nothing more than a flipper. Booth is being paid to create some grandiose vision in order to get other potential buyers salivating about the site's potential, not because Davies actually has any intention of developing the place.

After seeing the plans, my suspicions were confirmed. They just flat-out don't work. Since I know Booth and his staff are far more talented than that, I'm left with the conclusion that the actual substance of the design doesn't really matter - Davies wanted something big, and he wanted it fast.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 4:02 AM
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Why does this even have a thread? This isnt a real proposal. Its not even feasible. At best this is a "vision"...and a pretty garish one at that.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 4:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Roadcruiser1 View Post
Why not at the Chicago Spire site?
That's exactly what I was thinking when I saw how tall it was going to be. I fear this project will face the same amount of problems as the spire.

Both the spire and this proposal are awesome and I wish they would both come to fruition somehow. It would be nice to shock the world every once in a while.
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  #55  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 4:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Alliance View Post
Why does this even have a thread? This isnt a real proposal. Its not even feasible. At best this is a "vision"...and a pretty garish one at that.
Isn't it something that is actually being proposed? At least a rough outline?
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  #56  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 5:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G View Post
...
Water Tower Place writ large with an overall effect of Presidential Towers on steroids.
I'm not a huge fan of Water Tower Place or PT, but WT is one of the more successful parts of Michigan Avenue today. And when PT was developed, opening itself to the streets would not have been viable (or even particularly safe). And now that the environment has changed, PT is changing. The environment that currently exists in that area would not support a smaller-scale, outwardly-focused retail. There is not only a lack of foot traffic, but there is a lack of the possibility of foot traffic in large chunks of it. Are you seriously proposing turning an expressway (which is what Congress turns into as it passes under the Post Office) into some sort of promenade? And what of Canal at that point? It's not much better.

I suppose one solution would be to re-elevate Canal there and create a "normal" intersection with Congress. But they're both so wide there that it wouldn't be much more pedestrian-friendly. You talk about challenges as though any challenge just requires a little more thinking and it will magically disappear. That's not the case, and I think you're smart enough to know that.

Could Congress be narrowed and joined to a re-elevated, narrowed Canal there? Sure. But then you cut off an important feeder to the rest of the downtown area. I think the plan addresses some of the transportation connectedness issues better than you see it doing. It takes advantage of the dominate mode of transportation near it - the highway running under the property - while still leaving the north side of the building open to welcome pedestrians and those coming from the other modes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G View Post
...
Congress, for example, is 'brushed under the rug' and plans for the river (in the link bnk provided) include a line of restaurants connected to (and seemingly only accessed through) the mall.
As I mentioned before, I think it's naive to think there are very many options for Congress that wouldn't harm other parts of downtown. Taking advantage of the fact that Congress is there is not brushing it under the rug at all - it's simply using it for a purpose you seem to disapprove of (despite that being it's actual purpose for existance).

I'm not sure which line of restaurants you're referring to, but if they're along the river I'll point out that in the PDF I saw linked to, it showed a Riverwalk between the buildings and the River. If that's anything like Riverside Plaza and the other Riverwalk, it should provide access to any restaurants adjacent to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G View Post
...
This misses two of the points I was trying to make: First, that there is no demand for this much retail space downtown; and, second, the downtown area already has three established shopping districts catering to different demographics: a high end boutique will open along Oak Street, not on the former site of the Old Post Office; a flagship will open along Michigan Avenue and the more everyday along State. In order for this development to be successful, either those districts would have to be entirely built out (unlikely) or the developer would have to identify a demographic whose shopping needs aren't currently met by any of the three.
What downtown doesn't have is the kind of retail that appeals to suburban shoppers. Do you think Minneapolis would rather have all the tax revenues the Mall of America generates coming into their city, or do you think Minneapolis is thrilled that Bloomington gets that economy? Did the Twin Cities really need the Mall of America when it was built?

That is the scale of vision here. Whatever you think of the Mall of America, it is financially successful even in this economic environment because of its scale. It does have a lightrail link to downtown, and the first time I ever went there, in 1995, I took a bus there. But most people do drive there. Similarly, this megamall would also be most attractive to suburban-style shoppers - to drivers. That it is also accessible via transit is a bonus, but at the scale it's showing it seems likely that it would induce the vast majority of its customer base as new downtown visits and not steal it from the other downtown centers.

Even if it did steal some, it would certainly create more revenue for the city overall as it would be stealing far more revenue from the suburbs than from the City.
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  #57  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 12:15 PM
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What the fuck is Booth Hansen's obsession with monotonous twin tower designs. I know it's just massing diagrams, but he could have chosen anything. Instead, he puts Joffrey/SoNo on steroids and has the result spend a nite with the successful 30 W Oak to produce this offspring. I know Mr. Booth is one of the respected elders of the architectural establishment, but apparently he needs to stay away from designing supertalls. Any developer laying out the super expense to build a supertall needs to maximize rent and not give up leaseable floor space to 30 feet of air and dual cores and blocked views, among other things, and the architect should know that. But none of this is for real anyway, like everyone is saying.

With that rant over, I was wondering if everybody noticed the sidebar in the Sun-Times article that listed the people involved in the project. It includes the principal of "Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects", which is curious. As an aside, I wonder if this Ritchie guy bought the remnants of the Johnson practice? I thought that it became Johnson-Burgee? If you're going to trade off the Philip Johnson name and his well-known '80s portfolio of signature towers, I dunno, just have a bit more professional looking public face.
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  #58  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:29 PM
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Blair Kamin really shredded this guy...and to some extent Booth

Quote:
Plan for old post office complex: financial fantasy, architectural nightmare
BY BLAIR KAMIN July 22 201 07:45PM
Full article: LINK

My favorite pearls:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blair Kamin
"The design, still in the formative stages, is as mediocre as it is megalomaniacal. Its giant tower is no prize-winner and its visual damage would extend to ground level, particularly along the open-space corridor of the Chicago River."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blair Kamin
"This is a strangely suburban vision for a great American city, one that seems remarkably outdated as retailers abandon inward-turning malls in favor of street-facing shops. Even Presidential Towers, the West Loop complex whose mundane high-rises originally sat atop a mall-like podium, is reorienting its shops to the sidewalk."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blair Kamin
"The design offers a bizarre throwback to the post-riot days of the 1970s when cities were viewed as dangerous places and it was thought that the only way to draw people to them was to imitate the suburbs. It also represents a major flip-flop by Booth, who once proposed turning most of the old post office into a transit hub. “Expressways don’t make livable cities,” he proclaimed at the time."
Also,

Quote:
Old Post Office developer didn’t make friends with past plans
BY DAVID ROEDER Business Reporter July 21, 2011 11:16PM

If Bill Davies is positioning himself as a prophet of urban development in Chicago, he is without honor in his former hometown.

Davies formerly lived in Liverpool, England. Press accounts from Liverpool said his relationships with local officials deteriorated when he held a couple of key properties for years and failed to improve them.

One was a proposed shopping complex called Chevasse Park that Davies owned for years until the local council pulled his legal title to the property. He also invested in, of all things, an old post office in central Liverpool, but it wasn’t redeveloped until he sold it after a nearly 20-year ownership.
Full article
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  #59  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 3:52 PM
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Among the most bizarre parts of this is the retail bridge over the river. How, exactly, will that lift to 140-foot clearance for the passage of boats? Or does the developer's self-importance extend to convincing the US Coast Guard to remove the South Branch from the list of navigable waterways?
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  #60  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 4:30 PM
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Deep-pocketed developers with expansive reputations, backed by monster banks, failed to bring new tallests to fruition. Therefore, this one will actually get built.
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